Friday, July 24, 2009

If only...

He sat by her side, not sparing a word. She had left him alone despite promises galore. In silence, he walked away, not a glance in her direction as he let her be from that day on. Tears welled up, but he threatened them against flowing down. He knew he had to get away, just didn't know where to go. He made a call and geared up his bike. He always knew his destination, this time he just let his bike decide.

There was his friend, one that has always been by his side. He stopped right in front of her and let the tears roll. The evening was spent in silence, just letting emotions flow out. With days that went by, he spent his every free moment with her. He needed the distraction, coz life and an empty head reminded him of his pain. It reminded him of unfulfilled promises and shattered dreams of a life that could be. He would talk to her, tell her all about the dreams, the person he shared a very recent part of his life, moments between them and somehow it never hurt to talk about it to her. It in fact had a calming effect. Soon, they would meet, but the talks were no more about shattered dreams and what could be, they were about things happening around them, of incidents and random talk. He liked her company. He liked the comfort and ease she would put him in. Life didn't seem all that bad while he was with her.

With time the openness and comfort improved. The broken promises and all the pain with it were forgotten. He was ready to move on. She was a miracle worker. He had never imagined that life could get rosy again. But she had worked her magic yet again and like each time, she had wielded her magic wand and wiped away the pain. He knew he needed her for life and he offered her his love. She accepted. She knew not when, how or why her fondness for him had grown. But does love ever need a reason? She knew he made her happy. She looked forward to the part of the day that she spent with him. She just felt lucky that he reciprocated the same.

Life went on. Days were now more about the other than just themselves. It mattered to know if the other was happy. It mattered to make the other's day a little easier if not more beautiful. There was happiness all around.

On one another evening, over a cup of tea, they sat just talking, like they always did. He very animatedly described his opinion on a recent happening and told her of a similar incident in the past. As he addressed her as part of his conversation, he took a name. She had heard the name a million times through out the time she knew him. But the name wasn't hers. She let it slide by and did not appraise him of his doing. After a few hours, it happened again. She kept quiet again. It bothered her. She just didn't know if she was overtly reacting to some genuine mistake or was it genuine to react coz this meant more than just a mistake. A few months later, it happened again. She knew there was more to it than just being a mistake each time. But, it happened rarely and on a very random note. His every action told her he cared for her immensely.Was she right in letting it bother her?

Was it just out of habit, of being in a relationship that had lasted a while, that he called out with a name that wasn't hers? or was there a recent event, may be a recent conversation with someone form the past or a conversation with her? Had she ever really had a place of her own in him or was it just a mere filling of a void that was left inside of him? Did he in the years that she was with him, for one day seen her for who she was and not for who she was filling in for?
For replacing or filling in she would never be able to do. She knew that she would never be loved the way he had once upon a time and she was ok with it. She had enough confidence in herself to evoke enough love and care over a period of time, as much as she deserved.

Was it fair to continue being seen as someone she was not? She loved him and cared for him immensely. He had seen broken promises before, should she be cruel and make him go through another episode of broken promises?

He sat beside her, in silence as she told him of other dreams she had..ones that did not have a place for him. He knew it was coming. He knew it had something to do with the times his tongue had slipped and she had said nothing. He now thought of how he should have explained it to her then and apologized. How he had thought of doing so, but just couldn't come up with a credible excuse. That it was a mere confusion of mind and sheer habit and meant nothing more to him. That she was all that mattered.It was because she was in his life that he had had the courage to move on. But, he hadn't told her and it was too late now. A decision was made and one that she was convinced was right. He knew she deserved more. He loved her and that is all the more why he should let her go. He held her hand, wished her the best in life, sunk her face in his memory and walked away.

She sat there alone watching him walk away. Could he not now have accepted it as a mistake and told her that she meant his life to him? May be, he did not coz after all, she did not really have her unique place in him. She probably merely filled the void and numbed the pain. She after all was not strong enough to help him move on.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Perfect Morning!

Overlooking the tall buildings and the span of an entire city out of my window, the morning sun finally seen after months of cloudy,wet,cold winter mornings, new born leaves just sprouting on little branches that were lifeless just yesterday, the sky looking calm like it was at peace after a long time, a warm cup of coffee in hand, Pt. Shiv kumar Sharma's santoor playing in the back ground.... a perfect morning!

I've had many such perfect mornings and somehow all of them remind me of these mornings that came by at home. Lazy Sunday, wake up late, mom and dad on the porch outside, tea pot and the whole set laid out on the little round table in front, dad with the newspaper sprawled in front of his face, mom sipping slowly on a boiling hot cup of tea..quiet..just enjoying the fact that such a morning exists. Little drops of rain resting on the leaves, the earth with the typical fragrance of rain, the sun shy behind the clouds, yet radiant. An 8 yr old me...eyes half open, squinting to avoid the sudden brightness of the morning, sleepily walking, rubbing my eyes, oblivious to every thing around except the final destination of my mother's lap. Cradled in her arms, oblivious to demands of brushing my teeth and freshening up, drink milk and all other sundry, just feeling her heart beat against my cheek, smell the rain filled air, an obscure yellow orange ball image of the sun with my eyes closed... it's heat soothing... in the background Pt Shiv kumar Sharma's santoor floating in the air from a cassette that has lived life for a while now.

Through all the perfect mornings that came my way, I realise that the 8yr old in me never grew up. She still rubs her eyes, walks sleepily oblivious to everythign around in search of the final destination of her mother's lap.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


There were times as a 6 year old, I thought my world ended at whether I could swing higher each time without my heart racing as fast as it did. It was about whether this evening would be about playing hide and seek, run and catch or just a day at the swings and all the other bars that I loved hanging from and practice my budding gymnast skills.

Then I grew..taller for sure..mental development still under question! Life at 12 stopped at whether the teacher would be impressed with my homework, if my uniform was looking smart on me, if my friends thought I was cool to hang out with..and somehow the answer to that question didn't matter as much. There was a level of confidence that I would still have someone to go cycling with or play badminton with!

Come 17, life revolved around getting a good score at the boards, cracking the numerous entrance exams, getting into some fancy college and being the success story everybody around expected of me. Conversations with friends were always about what strategic step they had taken to live their success story..what career to choose, which tuitions to join, what exams to give. When the success story did happen and it was time to rejoice..we were all strewn apart. Life beckoned.

Then came College! We were adults now. Just that the elders at home didn't think so. There was a power struggle at all times. It made sense to decide little things about my life coz, I was grown up and yet there was always this lurking fear if the decisions made would be approved of or not. Somehow there still was always this necessity to ask before acting on the it small or big. Life now revolved around looking good, darting looks at the opposite sex, enjoying hostel life and all the freedom it threw at us..chuckling and gossiping with late night coffees as the rain poured down on the roofs, fluttering pages of the thick anatomy text book with a definite confidence in flunking the exam the next day, the little cups of tea between classes, the canteen-owner-claimed fried rice, zooming on the roads with a brash arrogance of playing the lead role in the film about one's own life! Life was lived by the day. Every moment gave a thrill.

Then came post graduation. Things got a little more serious. Life was about career and direction. The friends that had coffee and tea were carving their own niche. Jobs, wedding, further studies..the care free days were gone..buried in sand. Invitations in dozens came my way..."It would be a pleasure to have your gracious presence at my wedding with ...." Friends I had fun with were now playing more responsible roles. My life had taken it's own route. Further studies took me away from all these moments. Not one invitation I could honour, coz life happened.

New friends came along. Old friends not forgotten. New lives intertwined. I wondered if I would ever be part of any of my friends' biggest it graduation, wedding, first b'day of their little ones..just any occasion that means a lot to them.

And a day arrives, 11pm in the night, in the middle of a b'day celebration of a close friend, there comes a call. The other end says.." 4 pm tomorrow..I am getting married." " I have a mandatory can't get married." " But..I am. I would love for you to be there with me. Please make it" A moment's thought. " Gimme the address. I'll be there" Address given. Mandatory class forgotten. It took me the entire night to digest the information. An excitement at finally being a part of his big day. Sheer happiness that he had found his. An inexplicable feeling that I can only describe as a happy state! The next morning went in a frenzy as I attended to the daily routine called life. Come noon, all excited about getting dressed in ethnic attire, caught the train and landed at the court room. There he was. There she was. Looking gorgeous and beaming at each other and everyone around. Hugs exchanged, unspoken words somehow spoken. The group of friends that made it to the moment and it's celebrations along with the couple could no more wait to have it all happen. And finally it did. Papers were signed..witnesses, bride, groom and the mayor. A piece of paper was handed over to them with the words " by law, you are now husband and wife". They were made to stand, hold each other's hands, look into each other's eyes and take the vows of marriage..of being there for each other until death did them apart. As I handled the video camera, trying to capture every moment until posterity, I noticed a gleam in my friend's eye, as the face smiles away. Focus on the others around them and every body's eye had the same gleam. After a while I realized I no more knew what I was recording through the blur of my own eyes. Swallowing the big knot in the throat and flapping the eyelids to push back tears, I rushed to congratulate the couple.

There I was staring at my friend on his big day, floating in happiness realizing that even if life beckons, it's up to us sometimes to grab these moments and cherish them. It felt special to be part of his cherished moment and nothing else in the world could make me feel that way! I also realized, that a lot of the moments I have collected over years have always been with someone or the other...friends...and my life is the way it is coz of these very friends.